Podcast hosting is more important than just the price per month you pay. This is about doing something simple now to save yourself a nightmare later.
You’ve crafted your episode carefully, and now it’s time to share it with the world. But for listeners to access your hard work, the audio file must live somewhere on the internet. And this is important to get right, or you can cause yourself trouble down the round in a couple of ways.
Podcast hosting is different from website hosting. These two things may seem the same: They’re both a “place” on the internet designed to serve up files to visitors. This is true, but only a surface understanding.
But web hosting companies build and price their packages based on entities wishing to serve web files and images. There is also an allotment of some audio and video. However, this is minimal as most sites do not serve up much of these directly.By comparison to most web pages and related files, audio and video files are HUGE.
By comparison, to most web pages and related files, audio and video files are HUGE. And they eat up an enormous amount of bandwidth and resources. They’re also not the norm for a website. For this reason, web hosts don’t just frown upon using your website to house your MP3s; they out and out disallow it. And some will shut down your entire site if they catch you running a podcast’s feed.
Some may say ask for forgiveness rather than permission and just do it till you get caught.
I wouldn’t suggest it. And I can tell you it’s not as simple as asking for forgiveness.
A Short Podcast Hosting Reality Horror Story
My show ran into the threat of being shut down approximately 175 episodes old. This number is important to keep in mind for a moment.The website for the podcast was experiencing some serious performance issues. While on a call with the hosting
The website for the podcast was experiencing some serious performance issues. I called the host to find out about either upgrading the package or solving what was causing the problems. And during the investigation, the tech noticed the podcast with dismay.
The tech politely and quietly informed me this was a massive no-no and a shut down worthy offense. He was going to sweep it under the rug temporarily if I promised to migrate the podcast feed and MP3 files quickly. I agreed, and we set up about dealing with the other performance draining issues.
So began my week-long nightmare of trying to migrate a 175 episode podcast, in the middle of a season, under a time constraint, with no previous experience in doing such a migration.
And it wasn’t as simple as paying a media host to do it. I needed to duplicate the feed, copy and upload all the MP3s, and the whole thing had placed on a separate subdomain receiving no traffic. Then the podcast host could do their migration. Finally, a whole bunch of redirects had to be put in place to tell all the podcasting directories the feed and files had moved.
Sounds like loads of fun, doesn’t it?
Don’t Put All Your Podcast Eggs in One Basket
The website performance wasn’t only impacting site visitors, though. It was also causing problems for the podcast listeners. And, in reality, the website only existed to support the show.
This speaks to a larger issue: If your website and podcast are on the same system, you can lose everything in the blink of an eye.
So it’s better to break everything up and isolated them from one another. If your website is hacked, it will not injure the show. If the podcast feed has a problem, you can tell people about it and give updates through your website. And it makes life a whole lot easier if you need to migrate one without interrupting the other.
Podcast Hosting Must-Have Checklist
Not all podcast media hosts are created equal, unfortunately. Here is a list of things to look out for when examining different companies:
1) Ensure they do not compress or degrade your audio in any way.
2) Carefully review the cancellation policy. A few companies have cancellation policies that look like an ugly divorce. Make sure they have a clean, easy, and reasonable cost associated with migrating away from them.
3) They should supply a basic level of download stats. Most charge a little extra for more detailed download stats, but they should provide some basics.
As a rule of thumb, I suggest new podcasters use companies dedicated to hosting podcasts. You’ll receive better service and services from them compared to companies with podcast hosting as a product line extension.
How to Calculate the Right Hosting Package
Most hosts base their packages on how many Megabytes you upload to them a month. At the end of the month, the clock resets.
But that leaves the question: How many Megabytes a month will you be uploading?
Count on one megabyte per minute of episode released for a high-quality show. Example: Four Episodes a Month X 30-minutes per episode = 120 Megabytes. The reality will be slightly less. But this formula should keep you safe and give you some wiggle room.
Now, the formula above assumes a maximum export bitrate of 112kbps. If you want to make your show fit into a smaller plan, reduce the export bitrate of your MP3s.